Gonzalez, currently hitting .349 with 16 HR and 73 RBI, received 4,014,722 votes, finishing well ahead of runner-up Mark Teixeira of the New York Yankees, who received 3,077,242 votes.
In a showing reminiscent of the days of Tammany Hall, New York Yankees players Russell Martin (catcher), Robinson Cano (second base), Derek Jeter (shortstop) and Alex Rodriguez (third base) swept the elections for the remaining infield starting spots. However, it is doubtful that even Boss Tweed at his peak could have denied Gonzalez from becoming the starting first baseman at the 82nd Midsummer Classic, to be played on July 12th at Arizona’s Chase Field.
But will Gonzalez deny it to himself?
Gonzalez has stated that he would boycott the All-Star game if the anti-illegal immigrant Arizona SB 1070 Act, which he described as “immoral…in violation of human rights” and “against what this country was built on,” was in effect as law. While some provisions of the Act appear to be headed to an eventual U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding their constitutionality; much of SB 1070 is currently codified as law in the Arizona Revised Statutes.
The strong comments were made over a year ago. It now seems likely that Gonzalez, a natural-born U.S. Citizen of Mexican descent who spent much of his youth in Tijuana, Mexico, will play in the game.
This is a shame.
As a superstar for the Boston Red Sox, Gonzalez has a rare opportunity to use his profile to transcend the world of sports and make a bold statement about both civil rights and the rise of a draconian police state in the U.S. under the guise of “protection.”
Unfortunately, the likely scenario will be as follows: Gonzalez will start for the AL, Joe Buck will make a passing reference to the issue, Tim McCarver will ramble incoherently about something completely unrelated and a Fox producer will cut to a commercial for “American Idol” just before McCarver can reiterate his comparison of the Yankees’ front office to Nazi despots.
Baseball has a history of bringing social issues into the national conversation, and Adrian Gonzalez has a chance to add to that legacy. While no one can blame him if he plays in the All-Star game, he raised the issue of a boycott of his own accord.
The issues Gonzalez would highlight by boycotting the game haven’t gone away, but he certainly wouldn’t be the first person to take the path of least resistance when it comes to acting on their promises. Especially when that path is paved with more than 150 million reasons for inaction.